Jun. 03, 2019

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Weekly Roundup
The latest news from the State Capitol
Touring Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology

Click here to view video.

I recently toured Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology to learn more about the efforts they undertake to fill the skills gap in Pennsylvania.

You may recall the House has passed legislation to improve career and technical education (CTE). These bills aim to inform students of the trades jobs and how they can train to become employed in those fields.

It was great to see how a good, quality education can lead to gainful employment in jobs that pay family sustaining wages.
Honoring Our Fallen Heroes

This past Memorial Day weekend, I took part in events to honor members of the armed services who made the ultimate sacrifice.

On Saturday, I joined Rep Mark Keller and Sen. John DiSanto on a ride to Fort Indiantown Gap for a Memorial Day ceremony to honor our fallen heroes. Alliance of Bikers Aimed Toward Education (ABATE) Ridge Runners hosted the ride and event, which included more than 600 bikes.

I also participated in the Etters VFW Post 537 James A. Danner Post Memorial Day Parade and was the master of ceremonies for the commemoration program on Monday.

Both of these events drove home the importance of remembering those who died in the service of this great nation and our freedoms.
Low Down on the Governor’s Restore PA Plan

You have probably heard about Gov. Tom Wolf’s Restore PA plan. His plan calls for taxing the natural gas industry to pay for improvement projects. For the past few months, he’s been going around the state promising to fund various projects, from levies to reopening a hiking trail that was deemed too unsafe to use and closed.

Like most of you, I am concerned about the state of Pennsylvania’s infrastructure. However, I don’t believe imposing yet another tax is the way to fix this issue. In years’ past, the governor has wanted to enact a tax on the gas industry to use the revenue for various things, such as education and paying down pension debt. Well, the General Assembly, largely House Republicans, have increased education funding and took a small step to address pensions through pension reform. We did this all without raising taxes. And we can do it again.

What the governor isn’t touting is his plan is to borrow more than $5 billion for his Restore PA plan and then pay it back through natural gas tax revenue. There are numerous things wrong with this approach. First, he is putting the cart before the horse, borrowing money before the revenue even comes in. Secondly, should gas industry revenue fall, so would tax revenue, leaving taxpayers in the lurch.
Remembering D-Day, 75 Years Later

This Thursday marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings on Normandy, France. More than 160,000 Allied troops – about half of them Americans – landed on D-Day to begin the liberation of Europe. These brave souls fought, and many died, to bring freedom to the oppressed peoples living under Nazi tyranny.

I ask you to pause for a few moments to remember all those who took part in the great crusade to rid the world of Nazism and to reflect on the freedoms they fought to protect.
Town Hall Meeting on Newberry Township Water Quality Issues

I am hosting an informational meeting for Newberry Township residents who have water quality concerns. The meeting will also include officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection and Suez Water.

This meeting will be held at the Newberry Elementary School, 2055 Old Trail Road, Etters, on Thursday, June 13, from 6:30-8 p.m. If you live in an area of Newberry Township that is impacted, please attend this meeting.
Education Committee Advances Charter School Reform Measures

Four bills aimed at updating and improving Pennsylvania’s charter school laws have been approved by the House Education Committee and sent to the full House for consideration.

Charter schools are an important component of our effort to ensure we can meet the unique educational needs of each child.

The bills included in the charter school reform package include:
  • House Bill 355, which would create a new ethics requirement for charter school trustees and administrators.
  • House Bill 356, which would give charter schools a first right of refusal for the purchase or lease of unused school district buildings and require school districts, community colleges and state-owned universities to give cyber charter schools reasonable access to their facilities to administer standardized tests.
  • House Bill 357, which would require the Department of Education to create a uniform process for a charter school application and a uniform charter amendment process.
  • House Bill 358, which would allow charter school students to be dually enrolled in college classes through a higher education institution.
Touring a York County Charter School

I recently toured York Academy with my House and Senate colleagues. The school, now in its eighth year of operation, uses academic goals to direct its programming and teachers expect each student to demonstrate academic growth throughout the school year. This framework provides the opportunity for an inquiry approach to education with an emphasis on collaborative learning opportunities.

In the picture with me are (left to right): Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover) Dr. Dennis Baughman, York Academy CEO, Sen. Kristin Phillips Hill (R-York), Reps Stan Saylor (R-Red Lion) and Mike Jones (R-York Township).
Judiciary Committee Tackles Bills to Protect Homeowners, Minors and Victims of Sexual Extortion

The House Judiciary Committee recently approved three bills to help protect Pennsylvanians from a variety of crimes.

Recognizing that some children are coerced into a childhood marriage, House Bill 360 would prohibit the issuance of a marriage license to anyone under the age of 18. The change in law would also better ensure a person choosing to be married is prepared to make this life-altering commitment.

Responding to the growing problem of illegal residential trespassers or “squatters” essentially taking over properties that don’t belong to them, House Bill 365 would give law enforcement officers better tools to remove such individuals from the property.

Finally, the committee approved legislation to create the offense of sexual extortion, which occurs when a person uses coercion and misuses their power to demand sexual acts, images, or videos from victims. Establishing this specific offense better equips law enforcement officers to protect victims and prosecute offenders.

The bills now go to the full House for consideration.
The 92nd District’s Newest Eagle Scout

Congratulation to Aiden Richardson on obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout. This is not an easy feat and I know the hard work you put in to accomplish your goal! I hope you have continued success!
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422 Irvis Office, PO Box 202092, Harrisburg PA 17120-2092 | (717) 783-8783 / 3-8783
Email Address: DKeefer@pahousegop.com